Onkyo micro-amp
New module just 2.5cm wide, but uses discrete components for hi-fi sound quality

Better-quality sound could be on the way from TVs, car audio systems and other space-sensitive applications, thanks to a new ultra-compact amplifier module developed by Onkyo.

The new digital amplifier measures just 2.5 x 2cm, is not much more than a millimetre thick, and yet uses discrete components for hi-fi sound quality beyond that possible from amp-on-a-chip devices, according to the company. In fact, it says the tiny amplifier delivers the kind of bass weight and vibrant sound not achievable with conventional amp chips.

As you can see in our picture, the module is about a tenth of the size of a normal Onkyo amp module, thanks in no small part to the binning of the coil and heatsink normally required for amps.

The amplifier uses the company's in-house VL Digital technology to deliver a 4.5W output, and is designed to be used with low-impedance speakers, such as those commonly found in flatscreen TVs and in-car systems.

The fact these can operate on a small current means the amp can maintain its output even on a low voltage.

More after the break

The design draws on the miniature resistors, condensors and other components commonly used in mobile phones.

The low heat output of these devices makes heatsinking superfluous, while the design also means there's no need for the coil normally used to prevent high-frequency noise in digital amplification.

Onkyo says the new amp module, which will be commercially available in 2011, will cost little more than the chip-based amps commonly used in TVs and car audio applications.

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